We can tuck and hide so much to make ourselves “more lovable” until we confine the parts of us that need the most light, the most real love, the most nourishment to a dark corner of our being. ⁠

This year, I’ve been a devoted student of self love. Studying self love and coming into intimate relationship with myself brought me right up to the place that I’ve learned to ignore and resent within me.⁠

I started this self love journey and thought it would be writing poems, candlelit baths, and going on day dates with myself.⁠

Some of that happened.⁠

I wrote far less “love” poems, yet have journals full of untangled lies where I allowed myself to be completely truthful with myself.⁠

I laid down in many yoga nidra nests and waited on the Goddess of Grace to break my heart open so that I could see what’s been hiding in there. ⁠

I had to come into full contact with that place within that is marred, dark, and so incredibly flawed that I’ve been terrified to touch or look at it in order to love my whole self.⁠

A tangible and tactile way I practiced self love this season is abhyanga (Ayurveda self massage with warm oil) before my yoga nidra or meditation practice.⁠

One day while breathing, massaging, And repeating “I can. I will. I must love and nourish myself deeply” A little voice of wisdom says “self love is this.”⁠

My hand is literally at my underbelly, the place that has morphed into discolored, loose, scarred skin since giving birth. The place that already had so many war markings before that.⁠

This? I silently ask. “Not this, no one loves this.”⁠

Voice of wisdom. “Yes, this. Absolutely this. This is your way to self love.”⁠

Self love is seeing fully, with tenderness and compassion, that part of ourselves that we have learned to believe is most unworthy of being seen, unlovable or flawed.⁠

It is accepting, touching, feeling, tending to, singing to, gazing completely at the place that others have turned their eyes away from.⁠

It is wanting what has been unwanted within us.⁠

It is holding our underbelly, or wherever that place is that we’ve experienced “no one loves this.”⁠

It is loving that part of ourselves.⁠